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Sisters of Mercy Uncover Pieces of Their History, Celebrate Mercy Week

Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care is celebrating Mercy Week, a world-wide annual commemoration of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy nearly two centuries ago. The local branch, which arrived in Asheville more than a hundred years ago, will celebrate this milestone on Sept.19, a few days before the worldwide celebration on Sept. 24. The highlight of this year’s local festivities will be the dedication of stained glass panels that were originally in the chapel of the Sisters of Mercy’s St. Joseph’s Sanitarium located on Biltmore Avenue. A stained glass piece will reside in each of the Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care facilities in Asheville and Brevard.

“This is a special time of year for Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care,” said Chief Executive Officer Tim Johnston. “The Sisters of Mercy pledged to take care of the sick. In those early days, the community needed a hospital. Today, with a strong hospital system in place, urgent care is a much-needed alternative for those with non-life threatening medical issues who cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a primary care physician. Our nonprofit is proud to continue the Sisters of Mercy philosophy with our urgent cares, and these stained glass panels will serve as a constant reminder of the Sisters of Mercy’s longevity and commitment to meet the health care needs of our community.”

The history of the stained glass panels is rich. They came from the chapel of the four-story St. Joseph’s Sanitarium that was built by the Sisters of Mercy in 1916. St. Joseph’s Sanitarium served tuberculosis patients who flocked to the area seeking care and clean mountain air. The sanitarium was so popular that by 1924 it grew from 35 rooms to 95 beds. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even visited a patient there in the 1930s.

As the times changed, the Sisters adapted their facility. TB patients were able to stay at home so the Sanitarium became a hospital with operating rooms and the facilities of a general hospital. Their hospital went on to become the 10-story, 338-bed St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 1998 after a two-year partnership, the Sisters of Mercy sold St. Joseph’s to Memorial Mission Medical Center.

Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care became independent of the hospital system and today continues the Sisters of Mercy mission of community outreach and health services through its urgent care locations. The Sisters of Mercy have continuously operated in the Asheville area since 1900. There are four urgent care locations scattered across Asheville and another location in Brevard. Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care enables patients with non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses to be seen by a board certified physician at a lower cost than the emergency room, without an appointment, during extended hours, 362 days a year. To date, the organization has served more than one million patients in the WNC region.

About Sisters of Mercy Services:

Asheville-based Sisters of Mercy Services includes Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care, the Catherine McAuley MERCY Foundation and Mercy Occupational Medicine. In 2010, Sisters of Mercy Services provided more than $3 million in uncompensated and under-compensated care and saved the community an estimated $12 million through ER avoidance. The McAuley MERCY Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, raises funds to help the Sisters of Mercy fulfill their mission of caring for those in need. 2011 marks the 111th year of service by the Sisters of Mercy in Western North Carolina and the 26th year for the local, nonprofit Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care, which provides affordable treatment of non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries by board-certified physicians. Appointments are never necessary and two of its locations are open seven days a week, 362 days a year. To date, the organization has served more than one million patients in the WNC region. Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care facilities are the only urgent cares in WNC certified by the Urgent Care Association of America. Please call (828) 210-2121 or visit for more information.

(Image provided by Sisters of Mercy.)

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